| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 674, 15 August 2016
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Looking at the relationships between Linux distributions is often like looking at a family tree. At the core we find a group of distributions which initially package software and make a solid base. These are projects like Fedora, Debian and Slackware. We then tend to see other projects grow from these core distributions and add their own special software and utilities. This week we turn our attention to Zenwalk, a distribution which takes vanilla Slackware and adds its own special settings, software and approach to make a more user friendly desktop distribution. In our News section we discuss developments happening in the openSUSE community, Lubuntu migrating to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD and PC-BSD's Lumina desktop environment reaching its 1.0.0 milestone. In the Questions and Answers column we respond to the many queries we received following the Ubuntu phone review from two weeks ago. Plus, in our Opinion Poll, we talk about the state of Devuan, a systemd-free fork of Debian. We have updated our Slovak translation and our compatible Hardware page. Plus we have added Pearl Linux OS to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (27MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Zenwalk Linux 8.0 - A more Zen Slackware
In July I reviewed the venerable Slackware distribution. Slackware is well known for its conservative nature and dependability, but it requires a few extra steps to get a friendly desktop environment up and running. The Zenwalk Linux distribution is based on Slackware and maintains binary compatibility with its parent. Zenwalk offers two advantages over Slackware, one of them being Zenwalk runs a graphical user interface by default while Slackware boots into a text console following a fresh installation. The second feature Zenwalk offers is a "one-application-per-task" approach to selecting software. Slackware does allow the user to customize installations up front, but fine-grained application selection takes a long time. By default, Slackware will dump large collections of application on the user's hard drive with a full installation taking up over 9GB of disk space. Zenwalk streamlines things a bit, providing a focused set of desktop applications and a full installation of Zenwalk requires approximately 6GB of hard drive space.
The latest release of Zenwalk, version 8.0, ships with LibreOffice 5.1 and version 4.12 of the Xfce desktop. Zenwalk 8.0 is available exclusively for the 64-bit x86 architecture and is available through a 989 MB download.
At first, booting from the Zenwalk media feels a lot like getting started with Slackware. Zenwalk asks us to supply any needed kernel parameters before beginning its boot process. We are then asked to select our keyboard layout or stick with the default "US" layout. Zenwalk then automatically launches the Slackware system installer. Since I talked about setting up Slackware in July I will skip over the details of the installer here. Zenwalk follows the same steps, selecting which partitions to use and which packages to install. I decided to install everything except development tools for my trial. Zenwalk's version of the installer concludes by giving us the chance to set up a user account for ourselves and then asks us to create a password for the root account. Afterwards, we can reboot the computer to start using our new copy of Zenwalk.
The only issue I had with Zenwalk's installer was that I did not have a partition set aside for the distribution before I began the trial. This meant I had to quit the installer, run a command line partition manager (cfdisk in my case) and then re-launch the system installer. Slackware takes a slightly different approach by booting to a command line and getting us to manually run the tools (partition manager or installer) we need.
Zenwalk Linux 8.0 - the application menu
(full image size: 977kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The freshly installed copy of Zenwalk boots to a graphical login screen. Signing into our user account launches the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment. At the top of the screen we find an application menu, task switcher, system tray and sign off menu. On the desktop there are icons for launching a file manager and opening the Chromium web browser to show the Zenwalk support forum. At the bottom of the screen we find a quick-launch bar which also features an application menu. The background shows a hot air balloon flying through the sky.
Zenwalk features a fairly dark theme which contrasts nicely with the colourful wallpaper. I found some applications use transparent backgrounds by default. This can work nicely when paired with flat backgrounds, but I found it difficult to read text that was placed over the colourful Zenwalk wallpaper. Fortunately most applications make it easy to disable transparency. Another characteristic I noticed early on was that Zenwalk uses unusually small fonts. The desktop's fonts can be changed with a quick trip into the desktop's control panel under the Appearance settings module.
Zenwalk Linux 8.0 - exploring the settings panel
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Speaking of the control panel, the distribution ships with a central control panel for configuring the Xfce desktop and some of the underlying operating system. We can change the look of the desktop, adjust window behaviour and work with user accounts. The available modules generally worked well and I ran into no bugs. I did find the account manager module, which is menu driven, to be a bit cumbersome to work with compared to other account managers, but it does function properly. I also found it strange there are two configuration modules for changing the keyboard layout. I could not find a settings module for setting up printers, but we can access the CUPS printer manager through either of the desktop's two application menus.
Once I got logged in and adjusted the Xfce desktop to look the way I wanted, my next step was to install software updates. There is a Netpkg entry in the distribution's application menu and I started there. Clicking the program's entry did not produce any results. Next, I turned to the command line and ran netpkg. The netpkg command asks us to select a repository mirror from a list and then goes to work updating or installing software from the selected repository. As it turns out the software available through netpkg is somewhat limited and appears to be intended as a compliment to the official Slackware repositories. We can access Slackware's repositories using the slackpkg command line package manager.
Zenwalk Linux 8.0 - installing package upgrades
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At least, we can access Slackware's repositories after we edit the slackpkg repository list in a text editor and select a repository mirror to use. The problem is, this might not be straight forward. I initially tried to use the vi command line text editor to change slackpkg's configuration only to be told the libperl dependency was missing and I could not launch the text editor. Next I tried a few other editors, like nano, but couldn't find any present. Looking through the application menu I found no graphical text editors. The closest thing I could find was the Geany IDE. While Geany is intended for editing source code, it will work on any text file. Of course I had to launch Geany from the command line as root in order to edit the slackpkg configuration file as Geany does not have root access when launched from the Xfce menu. Once I got slackpkg's configuration sorted out with Geany, I was able to use slackpkg to install the vi editor's dependencies, which included the Perl and Python interpreted languages.
It seems as though my trouble with text editors came about because I installed most of Zenwalk's packages, but skipped development software. Sadly, in this case, the vi text editor relies on development packages and refuses to run without them, making the development packages not so much an option as a necessity. As many popular software packages ultimately need to be compiled from source code or found in third-party repositories on Zenwalk, it turns out the user is best off installing everything (including development libraries) in order to achieve a fully functional system, even if the user does not plan to develop any software of their own.
Let's look at the software which ships with Zenwalk. Looking through the Zenwalk application menu I found it was much less cluttered than Slackware's and therefore I found it easier to find what I wanted. The distribution ships with the Chromium web browser (with Flash support), the gFTP file transfer application, the HexChat IRC client and the Transmission bittorrent software. The menu contains an entry called "Gnome Gmail" which simply launches Chromium and brings up the GMail login page. Unlike its parent, Zenwalk supplies us with the LibreOffice productivity suite. The distribution ships with the Orage Calendar software, MPlayer, the Xfburn disc burning software and a full range of media codecs. Developers will find the Glade interface designer and the Geany IDE. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is present. Zenwalk provides us with quite a few other utilities including an archive manager, calculator, the Thunar file manager and the GParted partition manager. One application helps us rename files in batches and another helps us configure which services will run in the background. Cryptkeeper is included for setting up encrypted folders, but it crashed when I tried to set up a new encrypted space. In the background we find the SysV init software (version 2.88) and version 4.4.14 of the Linux kernel.
Zenwalk Linux 8.0 - using Geany to edit text files
(full image size: 315kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I experimented with Zenwalk in two test environments, using a physical desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. Zenwalk, like its parent, worked well on the physical desktop computer. The system was stable and my hardware was properly detected and utilized out of the box. When running the distribution in VirtualBox, I found Zenwalk was not able to integrate into the virtual environment and use my host computer's full screen resolution. As Zenwalk does not include VirtualBox add-on modules in its repositories, fixing my display resolution required installing a couple of packages from source, using the SlackBuilds recipes. I ran into one further problem with the VirtualBox add-on. Specifically, Zenwalk still uses X configuration files to set screen resolution while most other distributions configure X automatically, without the configuration file. Zenwalk's X configuration file set arbitrary limits on my display settings, preventing me from using higher screen resolutions. Removing the X configuration file and restarting X fixed this issue.
When running in either environment Zenwalk used approximately 200MB of memory when logged into the Xfce desktop. Early on I found the desktop was unusually sluggish (Xfce is usually snappy on my hardware) and my CPU was regularly chugging away at 75% usage. A quick investigation revealed the PulseAudio volume control plugin on the bottom panel was consuming large amounts of CPU cycles. Removing the PulseAudio plugin fixed the issue and my desktop became much more responsive. Of course, this meant I had to find and install an alternative audio volume control.
There were a few things I enjoyed about Zenwalk 8.0 and several I did not. Before getting to those, I want to acknowledge that Zenwalk is, in most ways, very much like Slackware. The two distributions are binary compatible and if you like (or dislike) one, you will probably feel the same way about the other. They're quite closely related with similar benefits and drawbacks.
On the positive side of things, I like that Zenwalk trims down the software installed by default. A full installation of Zenwalk requires about two-thirds of the disk space a full installation of Slackware consumes. This is reflected in Zenwalk's focused "one-app-per-task" approach which I feel makes it easier to find things. Zenwalk requires relatively little memory (a feature it shares with Slackware) and, with PulseAudio's plugin removed, consumes very few CPU cycles. One more feature I like about this distribution is the fact Zenwalk includes LibreOffice, a feature I missed when running pure Slackware.
On the other hand, I ran into a number of problems with Zenwalk. The dependency problems which annoyed me while running Slackware were present in Zenwalk too. To even get a working text editor I needed to have development libraries installed. To make matters worse, the user needs a text editor to enable the package manager to install development libraries. It's one of those circular problems that require the user to think outside the box (or re-install with all software packages selected).
Other issues I had were more personal. For example, I don't like window transparency or small fonts. These are easy to fix, but it got me off on the wrong foot with Zenwalk. I do want to acknowledge that while my first two days with Zenwalk were mostly spent fixing things, hunting down dependencies and tweaking the desktop to suit my tastes, things got quickly better. By the end of the week I was enjoying Zenwalk's performance, its light nature and its clean menus. I may have had more issues with Zenwalk than Slackware in the first day or so, but by the end of the week I was enjoying using Zenwalk more for my desktop computing.
For people running older computers, I feel it is worth noting Zenwalk does not offer 32-bit builds. The distribution has become 64-bit only and people who still run 32-bit machines will need to turn elsewhere, perhaps to Slackware.
In the end, I feel as though Zenwalk is a more focused flavour of Slackware. The Slackware distribution is multi-purpose, at least as suited for servers as desktops. Slackware runs on more processor architectures, has a live edition and can dump a lot of software on our hard disk. Zenwalk is more desktop focused, with fewer packages and perhaps a nicer selection of applications. The two are quite similar, but Slackware has a broader focus while Zenwalk is geared to desktop users who value performance.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE prepares for Leap release, Lubuntu migrating to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD, PC-BSD's Lumina desktop reaches 1.0.0 milestone
There has been a lot of activity in the openSUSE community in the past week. There were three new snapshots of openSUSE's rolling release edition, called Tumbleweed. These snapshots added a number of application updates and removed the LXDM session manager in favour of LightDM. "Snapshot 20160805 brought more package changes and one major uninstall. LXDM was dropped from openSUSE Tumbleweed and uninstalled in this snapshot. LightDM is being used in the environment instead and is auto-installed with a change configuration for those who are using LXDM. This snapshot provided several repository updates, and NetworkManager-gnome, LibreOffice 22.214.171.124 and WireShark 2.0.5 were a few of the many changes found is 20160805." openSUSE's more conservative edition, Leap, is nearing a feature freeze for the upcoming release of openSUSE 42.2 and last minute packages are being added prior to the distribution's beta at the end of August.
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LXQt is a lightweight desktop environment which has grown out of a merger of the LXDE and Razor-Qt desktop projects. LXQt is based upon the Qt software libraries. The Lubuntu distribution is planning to switch its default desktop environment from LXDE to LXQt in the coming months. Simon Quigley has posted that the migration is underway: "The Lubuntu team is ready to begin the migration process to LXQt, and one of the first parts of the migration is getting an image to move to. We have prepared the lubuntu-qt-desktop metapackage and we are ready for an image. A few weeks ago, I submitted two merge proposals thanks to advice given by Adam Conrad on #ubuntu-release. On several occasions (on IRC), both myself and Walter Lapchynski have asked for feedback on the merge proposals in an effort to get the images spun up so we can take our next step, but have not received any."
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The Steam marketplace and gaming portal has been available to Linux users for a few years now, but the BSDs (including FreeBSD) have not been able to run a native version of the Steam software. Workarounds generally use WINE to run the Windows version of Steam on the BSDs. One enterprising developer reports it will be possible to run the Linux version of Steam as a native executable on FreeBSD 11.0. The Steam On FreeBSD GitHub project provides scripts and dependencies for running Steam on the development branch of FreeBSD. The page also includes screen shots of Steam running. At this point it looks as though some more work is needed to polish the installation steps and end-user experience, but FreeBSD users may soon be able to run Steam games on their preferred operating system without WINE.
* * * * *
After several years in development, the Lumina desktop environment has reached version 1.0.0. Lumina's lead developer, Ken Moore wrote: "After roughly four years of development, I am pleased to announce the first official release of the Lumina desktop environment! This release is an incredible realization of the initial idea of Lumina - a simple and unobtrusive desktop environment meant for users to configure to match their individual needs. I hope you all enjoy it, and I look forward to working with all of you on the next iterations of this desktop!" Lumina began as a lightweight, portable desktop environment with minimal dependencies for the PC-BSD operating system. Lumina's portability and its general lack of platform-specific dependencies have caused the Qt-based desktop environment to be ported to several operating systems other than PC-BSD. To date, Lumina has been ported to Arch Linux, Debian GNU/Linux and GNU/kFreeBSD, DragonFly BSD, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Manjaro Linux, OpenBSD, openSUSE, NetBSD, PCLinuxOS, Slackware, SparkyLinux and Ubuntu.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu phone follow-up
Following my review of the Meizu Pro 5 phone running the Ubuntu Touch operating system, many people had questions about the device. Some of these questions were posted and answered in the comments section while others came in from social media or e-mail. In an effort to make the answers public and easily accessible, I decided to collect the questions and answer them all in one place. Here they are, in no particular order.
What are the hardware specifications of the Meizu Pro 5?
For those who missed in the link in the article, information on the Pro 5's hardware can be found here. Hardware specifications for all Ubuntu phones can be found on the Ubuntu Phone lineup page.
Will the phone work on my carrier's network?
I have checked three different North American carriers so far (Telus, T-mobile and Koodo) and they were all compatible with the Pro 5. If you want to be certain, compare the frequencies the phone supports against the network frequencies used by your carrier. The phone's supported frequencies are listed on this page. Click the "Expand" button on the right to see a complete list. Your carrier's network frequencies should be available on their website or through a customer service representative.
What about GPS? The article doesn't mention GPS or navigation.
This was an oversight on my part. The short answer is GPS works and Ubuntu has multiple map apps available to help people navigate. The Pro 5 I used bundled an application called HERE Maps which works a lot like Google Maps. The phone's GPS can target the device's position and the map application can provide directions between two addresses. GPS works and, in my area at least, was accurate. I only tried navigating to two locations using HERE Maps, but both times I received accurate information from the navigation software.
The phone runs Ubuntu 15.04, isn't it past its end of life? How do you upgrade?
The Desktop edition of Ubuntu 15.04 has reached its end of life, but the phone runs the Touch edition of Ubuntu 15.04, which is still supported. The operating system is updated about once every six weeks. Updates can be accessed through the settings panel in the Updates module. The Updates module handles updates to both the operating system and individual applications.
Switching between mobile and wi-fi networks.
In the review I mentioned the Ubuntu phone would continue to use a mobile connection even when a wi-fi network was available. I reported this issue to Canonical and, as it turns out, I was mistaken. The phone's settings panel will sometimes continue to show it is using a mobile network even after the phone has switched back to a wi-fi connection. This makes it look like the phone is using mobile data, but further investigation shows the phone has really switched to the wi-fi network. Given more time, or a display refresh, the phone will properly report it is using the wi-fi network.
The phone allows you to run as root, can the operating system be re-installed if the user damages something?
The phone does allow the user to run as root (via the sudo command) which can be a dangerous tool. However, key components of the phone's operating system are protected by being mounted read-only. This gives the user an extra layer of protection they need to by-pass in order to cause lasting harm. Should you need to re-install, supported images can be found on the Ubuntu website. Installations instructions can be found here.
Where can I buy one of these devices?
Earlier this year JoyBuy was selling the Pro 5, but the phone is currently out of stock. Meizu is planning to launch an upgraded Ubuntu phone later this year. I think it will be called the MX6 and should appear on the Ubuntu mobile devices list when the phone becomes available.
What games does Ubuntu Touch have?
Games and other applications in the Ubuntu Store can be found on the uApp Explorer website.
Is there a free developer SDK for the Ubuntu phone?
Indeed there is, it is the Ubuntu SDK. Right now the SDK appears to be packaged for the Ubuntu Desktop operating system (and its many derivatives) exclusively so you may need to install a member of the Ubuntu family of distributions or set up a virtual machine for development.
Since Ubuntu is Linux, can I install other Linux distributions on the phone?
Not without a lot of work. In this case Linux refers to just the kernel, one component in thousands which make up the operating system. Anyone wanting to port a distribution onto the phone would need to make sure they have the right drivers and cross-compile the distribution to the phone's hardware. It would be a long process.
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Additional Questions and Answers articles can be found in our archive.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 223
- Total data uploaded: 41.7TB
|Released Last Week
Univention Corporate Server 4.1-3
The Univention Corporate Server (UCS) team has announced the release of a new update to the distribution's 4.1 series. The new release, Univention Corporate Server 4.1-3, features a number of important security fixes for OpenSSL, QEMU and Samba and also offers some new features. "The App Center has been improved in several areas and further possibilities for the migration of apps to "dockerized" apps have been implemented. The replication of directory service objects has been stabilized in numerous corner cases. The domain join of additional Samba based Active Directory domain controllers is now possible with more than 100,000 directory service objects. The app appliances have been extended further and they now allow app providers to define an own branding as well as to activate a fast demonstration mode. Testers can now evaluate the app in the appliance very fast with pre-defined settings. Configuration settings for the database management system MySQL can now be defined via UCR variables. For example apps can easier alter settings of the database system according to their needs." Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes.
Eric Leblond has announced the availability of SELKS 3.0. The SELKS distribution is a network security operating system based on Debian. The latest stable release offers a number of performance improvements and package upgrades. "The main change in SELKS 3.0 is the switch to the latest generation of the Elastic stack. On user side this means Kibana 3 has been replaced by Kibana 4. And this really means a lot. Kibana 4 is a complete rewrite of Kibana 3 being non backward compatible on data side. So, our team had to redo from scratch all dashboards and visualizations. The result is a new set of 11 ready-to-use dashboards and a lots of visualizations that you can use to build your own dashboards. On the ruleset management side, SELKS 3.0 comes with Scirius Community Edition 1.1.10 that has support for advanced Suricata feature like xbits." Additional information on SELKS 3.0, along with screen shots, can be found in the project's release announcement.
OpenMandriva Lx 3.0
Kate Lebedeff has announced the launch of OpenMandriva Lx 3.0. The new version features the Calamares system installer, improved boot times and has been compiled using the Clang/LLVM compiler. "OpenMandriva Lx is a cutting edge distribution compiled with LLVM/clang. Combined with the high level of optimization used for both code and linking (by enabling LTO) used in its building, this gives the OpenMandriva desktop an unbelievably crisp response to operations on the KDE Plasma 5 desktop which makes it a pleasure to use. The latest release of all the KDE apps is there to support the desktop and help give you a consistent feel." Additional information on the new OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 release can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 - running the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 360kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Josh Curl has announced the release of a new version of RancherOS, a minimal Linux distribution that places most of its functionality in Docker containers. The new release, RancherOS 0.5.0, moves the project out of its alpha status and introduces new features, including an official Raspberry Pi image. "RancherOS, the latest major release since v0.4.0. Since then, we've moved RancherOS out of an alpha state and made many changes to improve both stability and user experience. In addition to various bug fixes and support for Docker 1.11, v0.5.0 includes the following changes: On our releases page you can now find an official Raspberry Pi image which is known to work on both Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. We're especially excited about this since it offers users a cheap method of getting started with Docker and RancherOS. We'd like to thank the Hypriot team for their assistance on this feature..." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Maui Linux 1
The Netrunner project has discontinued its Kubuntu-based edition and replaced it with a new distribution, called Maui Linux, which uses KDE neon as a base. The first release of the new distribution, version 1, is built on a lon-term support (LTS) base, but it is expected to provide cutting edge versions of KDE software in a semi-rolling release model. "Maui will continue as the full desktop version of the previously Kubuntu-based Netrunner line. What basically equals Netrunner+1 is simply released under the new name 'Maui 1'. Being based on KDE neon, Maui also marks the transition to an LTS base, where some parts are receiving regular updates during its life cycle (so called 'partially rolling'). The main parts which will be kept up-to-date are Plasma, Frameworks and KDE Applications, single ones like Firefox and Thunderbird, plus anything that gets updated on Xenial via backporting. This allows us to frequently release updated ISOs shipping the latest KDE software." The release announcement, as well as the project's About page have more information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
The state of Devuan
The Devuan distribution began its existence as a fork of Debian which would provide alternative init implementations following the Debian team's decision to adopt systemd. Devuan has been maturing and releasing development snapshots slowly with the developers now close to a final, stable release of their Debian fork.
This week we would like to know if our readers have tried Devuan and, if you did, what did you think? Is Devuan a suitable drop-in replacement for Debian or is there still lots more work to do? Please let us know about your experiences in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on the status of gaming on Linux here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
The state of Devuan
|I have tried Devuan and it is ready to use: ||95 (27%)|
| I have tried Devuan and it needs a little more work: ||45 (13%)|
| I have tried Devuan and it needs lots more work: ||19 (5%)|
| I have not yet tried Devuan but plan to later: ||90 (25%)|
| I have not yet tried Devuan and have no plans to try it: ||107 (30%)|
Updated Slovak translation and updated Hardware page
We would like to thank Dušan Kazik for updating our Slovak translation. Several of our key words were out of date or not yet been translated from English and Kazik was kind enough to send us fresh Slovak translations.
Anyone else who is interested in helping us make DistroWatch better, please visit our Contributing page to get details on translating, submitting stories and auditing our database.
Over the past month we have received notice about additional companies who sell computers which work with (and sometimes ship with) Linux or BSD. The latest company to be added to our Hardware page is a British company called Nimbusoft.
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New distributions added to database
Pearl Linux OS
Pearl Linux OS is a distribution based on Ubuntu. Pearl uses components of the LXDE and Xfce desktop environments to create a desktop experience which looks similar to Apple's OS X desktop environment. The project calls this hybrid desktop PearlDE. Pearl Linux OS is available in several editions, including GNOME, MATE and PearlDE.
Pearl Linux OS 4.0 - running the Pearl desktop environment
(full image size: 1,453kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Maui Linux is a desktop Linux distribution based on KDE neon and featuring KDE's Plasma desktop. It was created in August 2016 as a continuation of Netrunner's Kubuntu-based "Desktop" edition, but it was re-based on KDE neon which is a more cutting-edge project with frequent updates and a semi-rolling release model. Besides providing a KDE-centric distribution with many popular KDE packages included on the live DVD, the project also focuses on integrating non-KDE software, such as Firefox, Thunderbird or VLC with the underlying infrastructure of the Plasma desktop.
Maui Linux 1 - running the latest KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 504kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Nolubuntu. Nolubuntu is a Fedora-based (previously openSUSE-based) Linux distribution.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 August 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Build Your Own (BYO) Linux
Can you answer yes to any of these questions? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a Linux distribution where you knew what every file or directory was for? Do you dislike downloading applications for your particular distribution? When you want to remove an rpm, do you find that you can't because it will break a dependency? Do you think Linux distributions, in general, have too much junk you won't ever use but you can't remove things because your distribution won't function without them? Do you want to learn to configure Linux without using vendor tools? Are you just plain curious how things work? If this sounds like you, you've came to the right place. Together, we'll create your own personal Linux distribution. You decide what goes in and what doesn't. We'll compile applications from the authors' original source code, not code tinkered with by a commercial distribution. Not only will you gain a much better understanding of how linux works and a little bit of programming knowledge on the side, you'll take pride in the fact that you did it yourself.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Verifying ISO images|
|Questions and answers: Improving software performance|
|Questions and answers: Debian, Devuan and systemd|
|Tips and tricks: Command line weather, ionice, rename files, video preview snapshot, calednar, ls colour settings|
|Tips and tricks: Extracting package lists from various distributions|
|Questions and answers: The adoption of systemd|
|Tips and tricks: Extracting package lists from various distributions|
|Questions and answers: Loopback devices|
|Questions and answers: Rolling versus time-based release model|
|Tips and tricks: Find common words in text, find high memory processs, cd short-cuts, pushd & popd, record desktop|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|